This is a mind-numbingly easy entry for the blog--just a few pretty pictures from late--still lifes.
One of California's state prisons, home of the men's Condemned Unit:
San Quentin photo taken from the ferry -- natural light of the late November sunset.
Photo at the right: Sunset
Thanksgiving was a lot of fun (see the photos below, plus a couple bowling photos) -- except sadly we did not do any traveling (for the first time since before 2001) and visit friends and close relatives. However, I cooked turkey dinner following various recipes and everything came out exceedingly well -- only complaint, there just were not enough leftovers to last more than two full days. Now that December is one week old the Patriots are still undefeated at 12-0 and the Colts are 10-2.
The photos above of San Quentin I shot from the upper deck of the ferry Mendocino returning to Larkspur at Sunset. The skies color and reflected into the water is as seen here -- no special Photoshop filters or any other trickery. This is with my Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 lens -- a very nice, sharp prime lens that no Canon kit should be without.
DEXTER is still kicking butt on Showtime network; WEEDS concluded its excellent and whacky 2nd season; and HBO's THE WIRE is getting set for a 5th season early in 2008. Later this month HBO is doing a special catch-up show for THE WIRE, so tune in if you want to see what the best possible TV is all about.
Plans for Christmas and New Years? We'll be up in Sonoma County for a couple nights at the Vintners Inn and John Ash restaurant (off of River Road) for Xmastime; New Years Eve looks like another annual patio picnic with the bubbly at Gloria Ferrer winery champagne cellars overlooking the Sonoma County Airport and all of the vintage planes that trip out of there.
Update: 8:05 p.m., an earthquake occurred here, and it lasted a good 10-12 seconds, felt two distinct waves in San Rafael. Walls and windows shook, zero damage, much stronger in San Jose! Deb called and felt it good! Epicenter was in San Jose. Magnitude 5.6 -- and 70 miles away here at home still a strong sensation.
Initially it seems as if a large semi-truck is driving over your house -- windows rattle and walls vibrate -- then you realize it's a quake and instantly I was trying to figure, "Where is this epi-centered?". Phone calls go out and in, and people start calming down, and nerves slowly return to calm.
You expected pro-Halloween thoughts from me? I outgrew it when I was 15 I think. Still, having to put up with it now is definitely annoying -- having and holding
candy around the house (and eating it) and then when 50% of the kids who ring your doorbell are not polite? I'll retract this statement if by tomorrow night
most of the kids ARE nice (they either say "Trick or Treat?!" or "Thank you").
Personal wish lists (your or my own selfish needs! Your/my id/ego/super-ego coming to the fore) for holiday or other special occasion gift-giving. Here is my own personal, concrete, materialistic wishlist.
Mini movie review -- Cindy & I saw "Dan in Real Life" yesterday (Saturday). It's a new release starring Steve Carell, Juliette "Blue" Binoche, Dane Cook, and three small scenes with Emily "Devil Wears Prada" Blunt. Two tickets total $19.50 plus $15 for snacks. A typical theater-going experience rakes in the dough for the operators. It's a safe, fun, OK, funny movie. Not a four-star film as Mick LaSalle rates it but a fun, sweater-wearing film. Carell plays Dan, a local newspaper advice columnist (somewhere in Rhode Island/Mass.) who needs to get over the tragedy of his wife's death four years ago and continue raising his three girls (ages 9 through 17). Dan packs up his Volvo wagon with his kids and heads out to his parents for a mini family reunion. Later, while alone, he meets a woman (Binoche) at a bookstore who turns out to be his brother's current girlfriend since everyone has the same destination -- to the large family home of their parents in the woods by a lake -- awkwardness and funny moments result. I predicted the film's outcome after I read Mick's review. The theater audience thought the film was a lot funnier than I did as their laughter was frequent (and often too predictable -- maybe I am jaded, or rather, SKEWED towards much darker comedy?)....
The Boston Red Sox win the World Series again -- another sweep, this time at the expense of the inept Colorado Rockies. I watched every inning. I do not know how east coasters stay up well after midnight each night to watch their team win. Congratulations Bosox!
The Colts play host to the Patriots next Sunday, 11/04. The ultimate battle of the NFL unbeatens of all time.
This game is like a mini Super Bowl. May the BEST TEAM win. Our household is split down the middle between these two excellent, top notch football teams.
Above: the Flatiron Grill & Saloon in San Rafael where all the NFL games are available to watch. Being stuck in the Bay Area you're forced to watch all of the 49ers and Raiders games with local channels Fox and CBS blacking out the most important and interesting games -- usually involving the Patriots and Colts. Above right is a black and tan beer with Guinness floating on top and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on bottom...yum! Tip your waittress well too!
Peter King writes this about the big game, quoting Chris Collinsworth,
''Cris Collinsworth of NBC Sports and HBO Sports, like Cosell, is a gametape fan. He is also opinionated. His take:
"I haven't seen Indianapolis' secondary against a great quarterback yet. I think they'll do well, but Tom Brady's so far off the charts, can any secondary play well against him? The great mystery of this game is what a great defensive mind like Tony Dungy can do to combat how the Patriots have improved themselves on offense.''
Said Collinsworth: "This isn't a preview of the AFC Championship Game. This is the AFC Championship Game. The winner, in effect, will have a two-game lead for home-field through the playoffs. I can't imagine the winner of this game losing a two-game lead the rest of the way."''
Porcini Mushroom Turkey with Mushroom Gravy
Roasted Fingerlings with Red & Yellow Piperade
(potatoes w/red & yellow bell peppers & red onion)
Brussels Sprout Hash w/Caramelized Shallots
(thinly sliced sprouts & shallots)
Cranberry & Blood Orange Relish
Sage & Honey Skillet Cornbread
or, substitute a non cornbread-based stuffing
Dessert: TBD, something easy
Wine: a relatively low-oaked Chardonnay and an earthy Pinot Noir
Last week: Blue Angels and other jets practicing over the Bay; the new Airbus A380 makes a low pass flyover;
granite counter tops being installed today (by Duracite) in the kitchen along with new sink and faucet (Mike Testa Plumbing)...
Photo at left: Airbus A380 on its demonstration flight from SFO flies low over San Francisco Bay and is seen approaching the Bay Bridge here from the south.
The A380 is the largest commercial passenger airliner jet in the world -- slightly bigger than a Boeing 747-400.
I was standing on Pier 14, along with groups of people and other pro photographers anticipating a break in the performing jets' practice times for the approach of the new Airbus.
Montgomery Woods State Reserve - this magnificent California state park is in the heart of Mendocino County.
It is just over a 110 mile drive from San Rafael, with the final 13 miles on a very windy, switch-backy Orr Springs Road
west of Ukiah (hippy central USA).
I took over 200 photos there today totalling about 2.5 GB of data. Also I went through a roll of 36 exp. Kodak Pro Portra 160VC color negative film -- I'll have this processed at Gasser's in SF on Monday, 10/1.
I walked around on two separate trails, each trailhead is about a mile apart on Orr Springs Rd. Both follow creeks, with the main trail the second of the day I walked on and looked around for good shots. It was bright and sunny so the very bright motes and rays that made their way to the forest floor and sides of then tree trunk and leaves made extra challenges to me on composition and exposure.
Photo at right -- standing next to a tree in the main Montgomery Grove.
[Here is a place I visited in 1994 -- Richardson Grove State Park (located in south Humboldt County on Hwy 101, 15 miles north of Leggett; also 65 miles N. of Ukiah).]
I printed out several of these pictures at 19 x 13 inches ("Super B" sized) with the Epson R2400 printer; the paper printed
on was Ilford Smooth Pearl - a semigloss, capable of showing all of the detail.
On Oct. 2 I get the film, prints, and scanned negatives back from the lab and will see how well or not the
Kodak Pro Portra 160VC film fared in the forest. Portra is a common wedding photography film with the 'VC' as enhanced color and contrast over
the normal non-VC Portra.
Some more photos:
It's been four weeks since I've updated my blog. I apologize for being so tardy... sometimes too much other stuff on my hands
gets in the way of writing and posting. What other stuff?
1. Three weeks of the NFL season have passed (and in college football, Notre Dame is horrible).
2. Remodeling our kitchen (counter tops and sink & faucet) finally.
3. New Canon EOS 40D camera (arrived only a week ago and so far so good!)
4. Napa Valley wine tasting twice (including Duckhorn two times -- see photo at left)
5. New Fall TV season and Ken Burns' series THE WAR.
I am planning a photo trip to Montgomery Woods State Reserve this Saturday; the tallest tree in the world actually grows there. I'll have FOUR cameras with me as I plan on getting several excellent, forever memorable photos. I was last there 15 LONG years ago (on Halloween) using an EOS 10S camera with a 24mm prime lens (or some cheapo Canon zoom like the 28-80). I was at least using an I.R. remote control to trip the shutter on these long exposures on slow film back then. I'll do similar Saturday but with better glass and improved technique.
OK now some detail on the above list -- the last two Saturdays we visited these wineries -- Duckhorn (twice), August Briggs (on the Silverado Trail and new to us),
Napa Wine Co. (the collective tasting room), Darioush, and Black Stallion (new, recently opened 3 mos. ago).
Duckhorn is always excellent; the 2nd time we went we brought along friend and Cindy's colleague Yann from Switzerland; we got two extra (free) premium tastes there. It was a weird, rare rainy day in September. Being a member of their Direct club (via Goldeneye) has major advantages, one being the $20/person tasting fee is waived as well as getting easier walk-up reservations. The wines at Darioush are always excellent and the exterior and interior architecture and design of that place is captivating. We followed up these wine tours with early dinners at Mustard's Grill (also excellent red wine flights there - pinot!) and Buckeye Roadhouse (nearer our home). That's a lot to digest.
With our upgraded kitchen project we are tearing out (photo at right) the original thin granite tile counter tops, removing the sink and faucet and replacing them with an under mount stainless steel sink, solid granite counter tops, and backsplash. I can hardly wait for this project to be done (check back in Oct. 11 and I'll tell you).
Previous Blog Entries: [Aug. 2007] [July 2007] [May 2007] [March - April, 2007] [Jan. 26 - Feb. 4, 2007] [Days of Jan. 13-25, 2007] [Days of Jan. 1-12, 2007]